kid's play

If there’s one reason to stay up until the very end of class, it’s to eat dessert (after the entree and main course, of course!) 

Lucky for us, more often than not, dessert at school comes a la mode ;)   Now, the ice cream isn’t just scooped out of some carton and dumped onto a dish… oh, no no no!  The chefs prepare the ice creams from scratch at the start of each lesson and then, an entree and a main course later, plus a magic trip up to the third floor churning machine, fresh homemade ice cream is ready to be plated.  (I only call it magic cause nobody ever seems to notice the chef’s assistant take the liquid ice cream out from the demo kitchens up to the third floor… it’s only when they bring the ready-to-eat ice cream back down do our eyes start to wander =P)  Vanilla bean, mango-pineapple sorbet, & avocado ice creams are just a few samples that happened to be on the menu this week, but trust me, the extent of flavors and ingredients you can make into ice cream are only limited to the chef’s imagination ;)

Of course, desserts served sans a la mode can be just as satisfying.  Just one taste of the sweet caramelized parsnip on a speculoos biscuit along with a rhubarb/strawberry compote and I was in seventh heaven!   From the crisp, spicy speckuloos cookie to the velvety smooth, perfectly sweet parsnip puree, to the slightly tart rhubarb compote, this dessert hit all right senses and will definitely go down as one of my favorites ;)

For whatever reason, the desserts we learn in cuisine always seem to outshine the ones we learn in pastry… unexpected, right?  Case in point, this week in pastry we made desserts to be served in shot glasses, and while the concept sounded interesting, the taste was anything but.  Strawberry cream with white chocolate, apple and blackcurrant, chocolate with hazelnut, fromage blanc with raspberries, and prunes with jasmine tea all had potential but nothing really stood out except for the crisp white chocolate fizz crumbled on top of the strawberry cream that literally fizzed in your mouth.  The secret ingredient?  A childhood favorite… pop rocks!  A whimsical addition to enhance the eating experience, but the dessert as a whole was just plain too sweet.  The recipe definitely needs a bit of tweaking =P

To get our minds off of sweet French desserts, the school invited a special guest chef at the end of the week to introduce us to Korean cuisine.  Madame He-Jin Kim prepared for us two very simple Korean dishes, which I, unfortunately, didn’t find to really showcase Korean cuisine.  Perhaps coming from LA with easy access to Koreatown, I was expecting to see a family recipe for bulgogi or kimchi jjigae =P  Nevertheless, seeing a female international cuisine chef at work is always encouraging =)

Our last pastry class of the week took us down memory lane and definitely brought out the kid in all of us.  Using marzipan, or almond paste, as Play-Doh, we made fun, little creatures that bakeries use for decoration purposes only.  Not quite kid’s play, but definitely a lot easier than writing ‘Happy Birthday’ on a cake prop =P  Of course the chef’s made it look as easy as 1-2-3!  After all this hard work, I could definitely use a little nap time right about now =P

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